Yakubu Dogara, House of Representatives Speaker canvassed that housing loan scheme is given to public servants, insisting that it would bring succor to them. He stated this while declaring open a public hearing on the Bill to amend the Federal Government Housing Loan Board to administer housing loan scheme to public sector workers.
The Speaker who was represented by Yakubu Barde, House Minority Whip, said that provision of such offer to public servants would bridge the housing deficit and increase productivity in the public sector. He explained that the amendment when it scales through would make mortgage facilities more accessible to public servants at lower interest rates than what obtains and offered by commercial banks. This Bill has come at a right time to give succor to civil servants and provide an opportunity to have access to housing scheme for the purpose of owning a house. Research has shown that as at September 2016, the lowest recorded interest rate on any Mortgage in Nigeria is 19 percent and requires 25 percent down payment. The question is how many civil servants can afford a mortgage under such harsh Conditions?
It is our objective that when this Bill becomes law, most civil servants will have access to a house of their own. I sincerely believe that this Bill will go a long way in bridging the housing deficit and increasing productivity in our public sector,” the Speaker said. He added that it was on record that most public servants could not secure accommodation in Abuja due to the high cost of rents, saying that majority of civil servants reside in Nasarawa and the Niger States and commuting to work in Abuja every day from long distances with its attendant negative effects on productivity that is better imagined than experienced.
Dogara recalled that during the 2017 Housing Summit organised in Abuja by Housing Circuit Magazine in partnership with other stakeholders, it was revealed that as at 1991, when the National Housing Policy was enacted, Nigeria had a housing deficit of seven million units but as at today, the housing deficit had grown alarmingly to seventeen (17) million and continues to grow. The Speaker, therefore, urged the stakeholders to proffer solutions on how to administer the Housing Scheme for Federal Public Officers in order to reduce and or eliminate the overall housing deficit in Nigeria.